A book that really had me turning pages this year:
Cry Father by Benjamin Whitmer
“I think it’s about loss. That when you lose someone or something important there’s a hole that gets left where it used to live inside of you” – Cry Father
Cry Father by Benjamin Whitmer is one of the best and multilayered books I have read in a while. This is a book that is about men and the relationship they share as fathers and sons.
The story features Patterson Wells who has lost his son to a tragedy, but hopes not to lose his son in his heart and memory, so he pens a journal in which he shares his thoughts and feelings with his son so he can explain himself to his son.
The book also features the complex relationship between Henry, an old, skeptical man who spends his time listening to a radio show full of conspiracy theories and drinking his life away and Junior, his son who spends his time drinking, drugging and blaming Henry for the troubles and issues that creep into his life on a constant basis. The book further delves into Junior’s ever-failing attempt to break the cycle of parental harm by being a good father to his daughter who Junior loves “so much it makes his bones go soft when he thinks about it”.
Whitmer has a great way of getting to the heart of his characters and finds words that bring beauty to the heartache he is painting onto the page. The heartache that Patterson is living comes through the page and leaves you aching for him. Whitmer allows you a glimpse into a life that has led Patterson to feel a repeated feeling of “Not for the first time, he wishes he could be someone other than he is”.
This book is sure to be talked about in many literary circles as it is great noir, a great book of loss and a great overall piece of literature. A sure way to summaries the driving theme of the book is to quote Whitmer as he wisely wrote “…think of grieving as a journey, your mother. A mappable line that begins with loss and ends with resolution”. This is a strong, wise book.